Management Guide

Before maternity leave…

Before having a child, your employee should be made aware of support to breastfeed upon return to work. This could greatly influence your employee’s decision to breastfeed and/or return to work. The handout Making Breastfeeding Work….At Work! For Employees will be made available to your employee prior to leaving work to have the child. This gives suggestions to make the transition from home to work easier for the breastfeeding employee and the employer.

Before returning to work…

Close to the date your employee will be returning to work, a plan can be made to incorporate breastfeeding into the workday. This plan will be specific to the employee, the child and the job.

Keys to a successful plan include:

Space - Often a small, clean area with a comfortable chair and table or shelf is all that is needed. If your employee is pumping breastmilk, an electrical outlet may be necessary. If a refrigerator is not available, a cooler with ice packs provided by the employee can be used.

Time - In most cases, breastfeeding or pumping can be incorporated into breaks throughout the work day. The time required may vary according to the mother and child.

Support - Speak with your employee before they return to work. This will allow the opportunity to develop a plan that is workable for everyone involved. Information should be made available to other employees so they can effectively support their breastfeeding co-worker. See handout Providing Support to Your Co-Worker Who is Breastfeeding.

As the Manager…

  • Effective communication is required for the successful transition to breastfeeding and employment.
  • Ask your employee what is needed to make this transition easier. Show your support.
  • Consult the Capital Health Employee Breastfeeding CH 40-107 for more information or call Capital Health Public Health Services 902-481-5800.

Adapted from: Helping managers support employees who are breastfeeding their babies. Combining breastfeeding and work. South Shore Health.